The rapid spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) across the world has caused organizations to spend some time considering the very likely possibility of a remote workforce. For you, the Business Owner/Manager, this means preparing and equipping your employees with the right systems and the ability to set up safe, hazard-free work stations in their homes.
This comes at a time where gathering in close quarters is becoming increasingly unpopular and, in some cities and countries, prohibited outright.
As part of our response to the situation, the team at Way We Do have developed a Work from Home Safety Checklist to assist organizations:
- prepare for the possibility of a whole or partial remote workforce
- equip any employees who choose to self-isolate during this time, and
- have a proven system in place for any employees you may need to have work remotely in future.
The checklist we have prepared includes a list of standard items a worker would be expected to have in their home office, with the opportunity to include more items depending on their role and their organization’s requirements.
Ideally, this checklist should be completed by the WHS/OHS Officer, who can outline areas where the employee should make any corrective actions before they are approved to work from home.
When running this checklist, the WHS/OHS Officer should conduct a visual assessment of the employee’s home office, take photos and upload them to the checklist, and enter additional comments for the employee’s later review, and for the organization’s records.
Each step selected in the checklist comes with pre-written instructions to guide the user on how to complete the checklist. You can also edit the checklist to suit your policies and procedures.
While a WHS/OHS officer will ideally conduct the inspection, the current climate doesn’t necessarily allow for this.
Therefore consider one of the below suggestions to ensure that the inspection is conducted without putting anyone’s health at risk.
- An inspection conducted via webcam with both the employee and the WHS/OHS Officer collaborating on the process.
- The employee conducting a self-assessment, ensuring that comments and images are captured correctly to enable the WHS/OHS officer to make an informed decision.
It is important for businesses to become nimble in this time and that care is taken to minimize the chances of your workforce, especially your core team members, being exposed to infected individuals during their commute to and from the office. Consider more seriously, how best to protect employees, clients, and business at this time by taking your first stride towards a more flexible and mobile organization.
While in some countries, it is a legal requirement for employers to be responsible for their staff even in their home offices, in the USA this is not the case. OSHA states it will not hold employers liable for employees’ home offices and does not expect employers to inspect the home offices of their employees.
We recommend you speak with your legal counsel regarding obligations for your jurisdiction. However, for organizations in countries where you are legally required to conduct home office inspections, you can use Way We Do’s Home Office Inspection Checklist template and modify it to your requirements.
To gain access to the Way We Do’s Work from Home Safety Checklist template, contact our support team so we can install it into your account. Let us know your name and your Way We Do account sub-domain, and we will install it within the next working day.